If you had to start over, what technologies would you learn in 2014?
I got an email recently from a long-time programmer who had to step out of the game for a little while. They basically had a hiatus from programming due to situations out of their control, but now are looking at getting back in.
They asked, quoting from the email:
If you had to “start over,” what are the technologies, languages, paradigms and platforms I need to be up-to-date and mastering in my new world of 2014?
It’s daunting if not downright scary. I can *learn* anything, and do - quickly. I feel like I’ve been sooooo out of the loop, it’s not even funny.
I think we can all relate to feeling like this. I've talked about this before in my post "I'm a phony" about imposter syndrome. Technology is changing so fast it's hard to be a "professional" at anything. Ultimately, we're all amateurs.
To the root question, though, what technologies would I learn?
Pick a language that feels right
Learn a language that has a community behind it and that has been a part of building successful systems. Learn a language that lets you create the kinds of systems you want to create. For me, I picked C# because I can write web apps, Windows apps, Mac apps, iPhone apps, Windows Phone apps, SmartWatch apps, and tiny embedded apps, but above all because I enjoy writing C#.
Write while you learn your new language. Write about what you discover, what works, what doesn't. Write even though no one may be reading; you may find that they are reading. Join your new language's community and go to its user groups. Remember not to have ego, you are not your code.
Bet on the Web
There's lots of talk about App Stores these days. Everyone has them and they are clearly where the money is made. But today's (2014's) App Stores are still broken. Updates are a hassle, even when they are automatic. Apps (on all platforms) get stuck in broken updating states and have to be reinstalled, updates are often huge and rarely use smart patching and deltas. App Stores can become weed-filled gardens if they aren't attended to.
Aim to be able to create web sites, web apps, and rich connected apps and systems. Also aim to know a language that lets you write applications that you can put in the App Store for any of a billion connected devices.
That's my advice to someone starting over in 2014.
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